Wine Soak No. 15: “Tonight you could only ever call me … Ligvine”


Our wine correspondent found himself at the LAB’s exhibition: Tonight you can call me Trish and TBG+S exhibition Against the Enamel. The resulting experience can only be described as “a floating oasis of energised drift” that left him in “a nauseatingly positive and cheerfully grotesque” state of mind.

Unbeknown to myself, suffering the ennui of a dark December, un-invigorated by the cornucopia of festive parties, I was set to embark upon my most fallow period of creativity in many years. Feeling particularly glum I visited my physician, whom I would usually avoid like the plague. His face was aghast at the sight of me. Several weeks of celebrating the country’s financial rebirth (free to incur new and ever greater levels of debt on the global bond markets) had taken its toll. Under the good doctors medical advice I refrained from imbibing for the entire month of January and as a result, descended into a despicable period of sobriety, good health and clarity of mind. To put it simply: YUCK!

As the fog of my several decades of incorrect living began to clear I turned away from temptation and the gallery circuit only to discover a plenitude of aches and pains to which I had become anesthetised by the grace of my indulgent lifestyle. On returning to the doctor’s surgery one month later my appearance actually scared him to death…literally. After a brief examination and the declaration of the benefits of not drinking the good doctor collapsed before me and died on the spot. I left the surgery immediately via the window lest anyone suspected foul play of any sort. I ran down Amiens Street terrified by the sound of distant sirens heard through the irregular din of the gloaming city. Without a thought I found myself in a sweaty mess leaning against the glass walls of the LAB in Foley Street. To my surprise it was full of people and I thought what better way to lament or celebrate the good doctor’s demise than to join the celebratory crowd at an exhibition opening.

The first person I met was the recently returned Sheena Barrett who was celebrating the opening of an exhibition called Tonight you can call me Trish. The exhibition was the result of the emerging curator award that was won by a curatorial collective that goes under the tongue twisting title of RGKSKSRG, this rather drunken jumble of letters is constructed from the initials of the two collaborating curators Kate Strain and Rachel Gilbourne. According to the blurb that accompanied the exhibition these two curators view the exhibition space as a “site for channelling aesthetic experience and systemic disjuncture.” After my experience earlier in the evening I was hell bent on getting a little disjunctured myself so I headed straight for the drinks table, where they were dishing out Le Montalus Rouge Pays d’Oc. This midi rouge retailing at €7.45 a bottle was just the ticket to begin the journey toward disjuncture.

I got a couple in fast just before Clionadh Shaffrey, Visual Arts Advisor to the Arts Council and recent appointee to the Directorship of the TBG+S, began her speech that was in high praise of this new curatorial award for the most painful sounding of positions in the Art world, the emerging curator. On this occasion the emerging curators, like new born babies emerging from the womb, had framed their exhibition around the conceptual notion of a one night stand. A peculiarity of course in the mind of yours truly was the immediate connection of the possibility of something new and emergent being born out of a flagrant and yet shallow encounter in the dark. The atmosphere in the gallery was effervescent and well reflected by the colourful display of disjunctious objects and sounds in the space that created a sort of cacophony of jarring colours. According to the accompanying text with the bluster of a one night stand, Trish rides on the energy [excuse the pun ... I presume] of Arts own glossy promise in a mashed up, smashed up post decorative dissolution of illusion.” “MORE WINE PLEASE!” I demanded at the drink table, white this time, a Domaine Bichot Ugni Blanc Colombard 2011, a nice, crisp, dry white wine often described as quaffable. After a few more gulps I began to wonder what was missing in this gleeful mash up, one night stand, of an exhibition. Perhaps it is a generational difference but for the youthful zeal I couldn’t see the bitter wisdom that underlies our experiences of failed and broken attempts at intimacy. There was no sense of the under pinning regret that lies at the heart of the sad and lonely night of the brief encounter. The unfulfilled desire to not be alone. But at least my glass of wine and I had each other for company as I mused over the vacuous notion of pleasure without pain, transgression without sin, and no matter how loud our aesthetic pleasure rings without the sublime angst of our misery it is still a hollow ring.

Mulling over a need for the savoury bucket of salt beneath the sweet sugar candy coating I left the LAB and made my way to the Temple Bar Gallery and studios, affectionately referred to as Teabags. Here I found another colourful display in LED lights. The work on show was that of Prescilla Fernandes, soon to be an artist in residence in IMMA. According to the text the work references the failures of the modernist theories of Paul Signac to transform the world by unveiling truths about human perception referred to in the blurb as his “anarchist utopian vision and decorative propaganda, a scientific/aesthetic gesture, attacking social structures, intended to inspire revolution.” Once again I had to seek some refreshment to help me to absorb this bold statement, a sober reminder of my own failed revolt against intoxication.

Approaching the overstimulation of a Stendhal moment I took my celebrations of art and my late doctor’s demise to the after party in Kennedy’s of Westland Row, where amongst the usual suspects of the glittering art world I accepted that there was a reality that denies contemplative space. A drunken reality full of voices, exotic sounds, mind altering substances, D.J. beats and bright LEDs. The cacophony of the LAB began to make sense.

But,
On this night of nights,
Of skewed logic,
Failed sobriety and death,
Of cacophonous colours to shame the divine
Of unusual sounds and provoking sights,
Of finite potential one night stands
And morning after walks of shame,
Tonight you could only ever call me … Ligvine.

Tonight, you can call me Trish is a group exhibition curated by RGKSKSRG, recipients of the 2013/14 Emerging Curator Award. It Features artists Alan Butler (IE), Mark Durkan (IE), Mary-Jo Gilligan (IE), Oliver Laric (AT), Rachel Maclean (UK), Eilis McDonald (IE), Brenna Murphy (US), James Ó hAodh (IE), and Pilvi Takala (FI). The exhibition runs from the 7th of February to the 22nd of March 2014 at the LAB Gallery Foley Street Dublin 1.

Against the Enamel an exhibition of work by Priscila Fernandes runs at the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios from the 7th of February until the 29th of March 2014.